Sunday, April 17, 2011


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A little over a two thousand mile round trip,for the most part a stunningly beautiful ride winding and twisting it's way through a large part of the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo Nation from Colorado, extends into the states of Utah,Arizona and New Mexico,covering over 27,000 square miles of unparalleled beauty.Diné Bikéyah,or Navajoland,is larger than 10 of the 50 states in America.

The Navajo Nation Flag was designed by Jay R. Degroat,a Navajo from Mariano Lake NM.It was officially adopted by the Navajo Nation Council on May 21,1968.
On a tan background,the outline of the present Nation is shown in copper color with the original 1868 treaty Reservation in Dark Brown.At the cardinal points in the tan field are the four sacred mountains:

*Mount Blanca-Tsisnaasjini'-Dawn or White Shell Mountain.
Sacred Mountain of the East,near Alamosa in San Luis Valley,CO.

*Mount Taylor-Tsoodzil-Blue bead or Turquoise Mountain.
Sacred Mountain of the South,north of Laguna,NM.

*San Francisco Peaks-Doko'oosliid-Abalone Shell Mountain.
Sacred Mountain of the West,near Flagstaff,AZ.

*Mount Hesperus-Dibé Nitsaa-Big Mountain Sheep-Obsidian Mountain.
Sacred Mountain of the North,La Plata mountains,CO.

A rainbow symbolizing Navajo sovereignty arches over the Nation and the sacred Mountains.In the center of the Nation,a circular symbol depicts the sun above two green stalks of corn,which surrounds three animals representing the derrick symbolizing the resource potential of the Tribe,and above this are representations of the wild fauna of the nation.At the top near the sun,the modern sawmill symbolizes the progress and industry charismatic of the Navajo nation's economic development.

While in Durango I met,through the Pope,Jackson Clark,owner of the Toh-Atin Gallery.Toh-Atin is a Navajo word meaning "No Water".Jackson's father,Jackson Clark Sr,named the company after a mesa just south of the  Four Corners Area on the Navajo Reservation.In the next month or so,I will do a more in depth feature on the Jacksons and the Toh-Atin,as Antonia(Jacksons sister) gave me a copy of the book their father wrote many years ago called "The Owl In Monument Canyon" by H.Jackson Clark.
Through Jackson Clark Jr,I am arranging to meet Anthony Tallboy,a Navajo Medicine Man,a very powerful person in the Navajo Tribe.This will come under the Toh-Atin post in a few weeks.

So in about a week or so I will be riding much of the same route again as I make my way down SW to Mexicali the first week in May for the start of the Mexican 1000.
That will be more like a six thousand + mile round trip by the time i'm done and stop off at the places that I want to go and people that I want to visit,Anthony Tallboy being one of the stops,and as soon as the race finishes in La Paz I have to do a pretty quick turnaround back up to Boulder.

Having grown up in Ireland just outside of Dublin,a little town called Bray,we had four seasons,mountains,outdoor activities,a little bit of everything.I learned to ride Trials in the mountains a few miles from my house there.I went climbing every week and never had to travel more than 20 miles from my door.
After nearly ten years living in Florida,I now realize there are none of those things there that (I) need to be a part of my life that I grew up with,and Mum feels the same way too.It's flat,about as flat as it gets,and the one season they have per year,HOT,i'm just done with it,and so is me Mum.So i've taken it upon myself after talking it through with her that it's worth going to the trouble and expense to move her up to Boulder for whatever amount of time she has left here on this earth.It's really too hot in Florida for her,she can't go outside for a walk in the day and she has nothing to look at,no mountains,no snow,no changes in the seasons.
So thats why the quick turn around to head back up to Boulder to get down to Florida to pack everything up for her and move her to Boulder for June.It's only money after all,and after finding out the hard way that money does NOT buy happiness,it's an expense that is well worth it in my mind,besides,you only have one Mum,right?.So if you won't do it for her,then who?.

Meanwhile......... stop along the way is going to be with Zero One Oddysseys Adventure Safari Style Tour Cars.I met Zero One and co-founder David Whitehead at the Overland Expo last week,so i'll be going along on one or some of their adventure trips as the trip photographer.
It will be a little gas money to keep my trip going and the "MMM" fund(Move Me Mum),and it sounds like one hell of an adventure too boot.It's a roughly 150ml per day baja/safari style tour,all off road,with you doing the driving in one of their eleven tour cars.You drive off road to your destination each day,stay in whatever establishment is booked and eat and re-live the days fun for the duration of the tour.They even bring along a Massage Therapist sometimes for the trip,because believe me,after bouncing along for 150 miles in a buggy off-road,even if it is a Safari buggy,it does take it out of you by the second or third day.
Zero One may also be coming onboard as a new sponsor for me,we'll see.When you see the logo on the blog,then they're on board.

I made quite a few new friends in Durango and found out some interesting and neat things about the place.
For example,did you know that it's coming to the end of Soup season in Durango?.I didn't think so,thats why i'm letting you know now in case they run out before you get yourself some.......
I can highly recommend the SW Corn Chowder,and the Chicken Posole was killer also.

 While in Durango I also went to see the Pope..........
...well,actually I bumped into Jerry Pope outside PJ's as I was leaving and he rolled up on his GS 1200,so of course we started yakkin about bikes and stuff.......
I was camped out up at Hermosa but the Pope invited me to stay in his guest cabin by the lake,but I was muy contento in my campspot,I spent a few hours that day collecting firewood for an evening campfire to ward off the falling mercury that was forecast for that night,and also for some ambience,a little mood setting if you will.
So I invited him up to the campfire instead.......we sat around,temps in the twenties maybe,and then a few days later I took him up on his guest house offer.
The view looking north from the deck of the 
Pope's guest house.In the distance is the snow capped peak of Engineer Mountain,just a tad under 13,000 ft in the San Juans.Next on the list to climb.
Engineer Mountain.

But,before I left Boulder for Durango I managed to get in a few climbs up there.....

This climbing axe I have dates to about the 60's also,a gift from the guys I climbed the Matterhorn with.
All the stuff I have is getting older.
Whats up with that?.

These are my Meindl boots that I bought in 1976 just before my 15th birthday to go to Switzerland and go climb the Matterhorn,they still fit me today and have so many memories for me and so much history in them that I couldn't trade them in for a new pair today.Wouldn't go climbing without them.All leather uppers Meindl don't even make these anymore.They should probably be in a climbing boot display somewhere,but they were made to be worn and thats what i'm doing.

My right angle 'biner is becoming collectable also.....

So I didn't do any climbs that'll get my picture in the American Alpine Journal,but still I went and stretched my legs,hoping that I may be discovered by someone..........
......and I was.
Christina and Finnegan.

Meanwhile back at the Popes......

The Band-aid is from a tussle with a sleepy should see the state of the bear.

The Pope was not about to let me go hungry,so while he grilled the steaks I ran down to PJ's gourmet and picked up....
.....the only thing that could improve on a Teriyaki soaked slab of beef,aside from a bottle of '84 Margeaux that is..........which I don't do anymore.

And I had picked up some of these on the way to Durango just in case of an I figured this was a just in case moment.

Then we went out back and looking west caught the sun disappearing as the world turned...

After my stay with the Pope and having been absolved for all my transgressions(he said he had the authority to do it,who was I to argue),it was on to points north.......



Charlie6 said...

Hi Murph!

Great set of photos as always, love that shot of Engineer Mountain along the San Juan Skyway. I hope to add Engineer Pass to my list of achieved passes sometime in the future.

As a Spanish speaker, I must however, correct your use of the "mui contenta" phrase. You being a manly man, you'd actually be "muy contento". : )


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Kristina said...

Awesome photos! I love the picture of your tent, climbing gear and boots--really captures your world! Great writing--am enjoying following your journey!

Brady said...

You kind a renew my faith in humanity taking care of your mum like that.

And, as I just said, mean looking photos. I hope you get enough coinage together to get your MMM fund together and take care of business.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life